Mayaro virus is endemic in South America and sporadic outbreaks have been described. It causes a dengue-like febrile illness accompanied by severe and long-lasting polyarthralgias. Outside endemic regions, however, the disease is not well known and can be misdiagnosed as dengue. International travellers are at risk to acquire Mayaro virus and due to increased worldwide travel infectious disease specialists need to be aware of such rare clinical entities.
We report the first Mayaro virus infection imported into Germany. A 20-year-old woman developed fever, myalgia, maculopapular rash, and polyarthralgias following a 10-day trip in the Rurrenabaque region of Bolivia. Severe polyarthralgias persisted for 5 months and were treated with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Serological analysis demonstrated Mayaro virus-specific-IgM and -IgG antibodies two months after onset of symptoms. Except for CXCL8/IL-8 other proinflammatory chemokines and cytokines were unremarkable at this time.
Dissemination of knowledge on rare disease might improve patient management. Understanding the inherent features of Mayaro virus infection and how the virus interacts with its host are essential for optimal patient care and therapy.
Mayaro virus; Alphavirus; Persistent arthralgia; Inflammatory cytokines
This study presents an analysis of 159 serotype 19A isolates from IPD in children before and after the general recommendation for childhood pneumococcal conjugate vaccination in Germany in July 2006. Vaccination formulations used were PCV7, PCV10 (from April 2009) and PCV13 (from Dec. 2009, replacing PCV7).
Isolates from invasive pneumococcal disease in children were serotyped using the Quellung reaction, tested for antibiotic susceptibility and analysed for their multi locus sequence type.
In an analysis of 3328 isolates from invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) in children that were sent to the German National Reference Center for Streptococci between July 1997 and June 2011, we show that the proportion of 19A isolates ranged between 1.7 and 4.2% in the period 1997 to 2006. After the recommendation for pneumococcal conjugate childhood vaccination, which was issued in July 2006, the proportion of 19A isolates increased significantly to 15.0% in 2010/11. Eight clonal complexes (CC) and groups accounted for 77.2% and 65.3% of all serotype 19A isolates before and after vaccination, respectively. While three CCs and several STs were not detected after vaccine introduction, four CCs and several STs first appeared after vaccination, including three ST320 isolates that could be traced to recent imports from the US, UK and India. The proportion of penicillin-nonsusceptible and of multidrug-resistant 19A isolates moderately increased after vaccine introduction. A significant increase in the use of cephalosporins and azithromycin was noted post-vaccination (p=0.00001 and p=0.0013 respectively).
The prevalence of serotype 19A in Germany has increased significantly between July 2007 and June 2011. Possible reasons for this are the introduction of pneumococcal conjugate vaccination, increased use of cephalosporins and azithromycin, import of multidrug-resistant isolates and increased reporting.
Streptococcus pneumoniae; Serotype 19A; Germany
Efflux pump inhibitors (EPIs) are attractive compounds to reverse multidrug-resistance in clinically relevant bacterial pathogens. In this study we tested the ability of the neuroleptic drug pimozide to inhibit the Escherichia coli AcrAB-TolC efflux pump, whose overproduction confers resistance to various antimicrobial agents. A real-time Nile red efflux assay in the AcrAB – overproducing strain 3-AG100 revealed that pimozide was capable of full inhibition of this pump at a concentration of 100 µM, which is far below its intrinsic MIC (>1mM). However, MIC assay demonstrated very little effect of pimozide with regard to reduction in MICs of various antimicrobial compounds.
Only oxacillin MICs were reduced twofold in the presence of pimozide at 100 and 200 µM.
Since pimozide did considerably enhance accumulation of ethidium bromide in a fluorescence assay, ethidium bromide MIC assays in the presence and absence of this putative EPI were performed. They revealed that pimozide was able to reduce the MICs of ethidium bromide by 4-fold. In line with previous reports we suggest that the capability of EPIs to restore the susceptibility to antimicrobial agents can be highly substrate-specific due to different substrate binding sites.
AcrB; efflux pump inhibitor; multidrug resistance; pimozide.
Current guidelines regarding Lyme neuroborreliosis [LNB] require the presence of intrathecal Borrelia burgdorferi-specific antibody production for the definite diagnosis of LNB. However, about 20% of early stage infections present without an elevated antibody index. Moreover, intrathecal B. burgdorferi specific antibody synthesis may persist long after successful therapy of LNB. Recently published data indicate that CXCL13 seems to be a promising diagnostic tool for early stage LNB. In addition, CXCL13 might be suitable for treatment monitoring.
We report on a 39-year-old male patient from southern Germany, who has been suffering from subfebrile body temperatures and meningeal headache for six weeks. On the second day after hospital admission he developed peripheral palsy of the VII. cranial nerve. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) analysis showed granulocytic pleocytosis, elevated total protein and blood-CSF barrier dysfunction. Differential diagnostics for granulocytic pleocytosis were unremarkable. Only a second lumbar puncture, on day 6 after admission, revealed a lymphocytic pleocytosis. Serologic testing pointed to clear intrathecal Borrelia specific IgG antibody production. Interestingly, no anti-OspC antibodies were detectable. DNA of the rare Borrelia garinii OspA-type 7 could be amplified from the first CSF sample. The monitoring of CXCL13 in all CSF samples documented a fast decrease from 5000 pg/ml to 450 pg/ml after appropriate antibiotic treatment.
CXCL13 is a novel biomarker with high sensitivity and specificity for acute LNB. Our data show, that CXCL13 might be helpful in unclear cases and support the presumption that it might be a valuable tool for treatment monitoring. Anti-OspC antibody negativity is a rare observation, given the need of OspC for infection of the human hosts. Most likely this is due to a lack of sensitivity of OspC immunoblots that are unable to detect rare OspC variants.
CXCL13; Neuroborreliosis; Borrelia burgdorferi; B. garinii; OspA-type
A set of simple clinical prediction criteria for patients with nosocomial Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia was developed to identify patients at low risk of infective endocarditis in whom transesophageal echocardiography might be dispensable and was validated with two independent cohorts.
(see the editorial commentary and Soriano and Mensa, on pages 10–12.)
Background. Infective endocarditis (IE) is a severe complication in patients with nosocomial Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia (SAB). We sought to develop and validate criteria to identify patients at low risk for the development of IE in whom transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) might be dispensable.
Methods. Consecutive patients with nosocomial SAB from independent cohorts in Europe (Invasive S. aureus Infection Cohort [INSTINCT]) and North America (S. aureus Bacteremia Group [SABG]) were evaluated for the presence of clinical criteria predicting an increased risk for the development of IE (ie, prolonged bacteremia of >4 days' duration, presence of a permanent intracardiac device, hemodialysis dependency, spinal infection, and nonvertebral osteomyelitis). Patients were observed closely for clinical signs and symptoms of IE during hospitalization and a 3-month follow-up period.
Results. IE was present in 13 (4.3%) of 304 patients in the INSTINCT cohort and in 40 (9.3%) of 432 patients in the SABG cohort. Within 14 days after the first positive blood culture result, echocardiography was performed in 39.8% and 57.4% of patients in the INSTINCT and SABG cohorts, respectively. In patients with IE, the most common clinical prediction criteria present were prolonged bacteremia (69.2% vs 90% for INSTINCT vs SABG, respectively) and presence of a permanent intracardiac device (53.8% vs 32.5%). In total, 13 of 13 patients in the INSTINCT cohort and 39 of 40 patients in the SABG cohort with documented IE fulfilled at least 1 criterion (sensitivity, 100% vs. 97.5%; negative predictive value, 100% vs 99.2%).
Conclusions. A simple criteria set for patients with nosocomial SAB can identify patients at low risk of IE. Patients who meet these criteria may not routinely require TEE.
Infections with Strongyloides stercoralis and other helminths represent important, yet often neglected issues in developing countries. Indeed, strongyloidiasis can be fatal, but only a few studies provide information regarding its health relevance in Africa. Moreover, clinical data on symptomatology and typical recognition patterns mainly originate from Western travel clinics.
A cross-sectional epidemiological survey was carried out in a rural part of south-central Côte d'Ivoire. Stool samples from 292 randomly selected individuals were examined for intestinal helminths, using a suite of diagnostic techniques (i.e., Kato-Katz, Baermann funnel, and Koga agar plate). Participants were interviewed with a pre-tested questionnaire and clinically examined. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was done to relate perceived morbidity and clinical findings to helminth infection status.
The prevalence of hookworm and S. stercoralis was 51.0% and 12.7%, respectively. Both infections were strongly associated with each other (adjusted odds ratio, 6.73; P<0.001) and higher prevalences were observed with age. S. stercoralis-infected individuals expressed self-reported morbidity considerably more often than those with hookworm infection. Clinical examination identified high prevalences of various pathologies and detected tendencies to worse health conditions in helminth-infected subjects.
The use of multiple diagnostic tools showed that S. stercoralis and hookworm are co-endemic in rural Côte d'Ivoire and that each infection causes clinical symptoms and sequelae. Our findings are important for (re-)estimating the burden of helminth infections, and highlight the need for integrating epidemiological surveys, rigorous diagnostic approaches, and clinical assessments in the developing world.
Infections with parasitic worms such as hookworm and threadworm (Strongyloides stercoralis) are widespread throughout the developing world. However, the symptoms caused by parasitic worms are unspecific and little is known about clinical presentations in endemic countries, and hence doctors' awareness of these diseases is usually low. Many infections therefore remain undetected and untreated over long time periods. As a consequence, parasitic worms can impair the well-being of infected individuals and cause harmful, sometimes even fatal health outcomes. To improve the knowledge about clinical signs and symptoms caused by parasitic worms, we administered a questionnaire to 292 children and adults in rural Côte d'Ivoire, examined them clinically, and looked at their stool for parasitic worm infections. We found that people with parasitic worms reported some symptoms, especially disorders of the gastrointestinal tract, more often than those without worms. Our clinical examination showed a trend toward worse health conditions in worm-infected people, particularly in those with S. stercoralis. Our results are important to improve patient management and control measures, and to better estimate the true health impact of parasitic worm infections.
Leptospirosis, a zoonosis occurring worldwide, has a broad spectrum of clinical manifestations. Recently, various countries observed an increase of severe anicteric cases. In Austria and Germany, growing numbers of imported cases are notified in addition to autochthonous infections. The aim of this study was to assess whether imported and autochthonous cases differ in clinical manifestations and outcome. We retrospectively analyzed 24 imported and 35 autochthonous cases treated in six infectious disease units between 1998 and 2008. To compare disease severity, patients were classified according to established independent risk factors for fatal outcome. Although severe leptospirosis (i.e., presence of ≥ 1 independent risk factors for death) occurred in similar proportions of imported (67%) and autochthonous (86%) infections (P = 0.1), imported cases were significantly fewer icteric (13% versus 69%; P < 0.0001). In conclusion, an increasing incidence of severe anicteric imported cases of leptospirosis should be anticipated with rising global travel activities.
To evaluate the importance of phenylalanine residues for substrate transport in the Escherichia coli efflux pump protein AcrB, we subjected Phe-to-Ala binding pocket mutants to a real-time efflux assay with the novel near-infrared lipophilic membrane probe 1,2′-dinaphthylamine (1,2′-DNA). All mutations, with the exception of F617A, led to considerable retardation of efflux. F610A was the point mutation with the most pronounced impact, followed by F628A, F615A, F136A, and F178A. This is the first study to demonstrate the importance of single phenylalanine residues within the AcrB binding pocket for real-time substrate transport.
Tick-borne lymphadenopathy (TIBOLA) was first described in 1997 in a patient in France. The causative agent, Rickettsia slovaca, is transmitted by Dermacentor ticks.
In southwestern Germany we encountered a patient with a tick bite at the dorsal scalp that resulted in an eschar and nuchal lymphadenopathy. Additionally, fever, malaise as well as elevated inflammatory markers and transaminases occurred. The characteristic clinical picture along with positive antibody testing for rickettsiae of the tick-borne spotted fever group strongly suggest the diagnosis TIBOLA.
Human rickettsioses are emerging infections. Clinicians should be aware of TIBOLA as a newly described rickettsial disease. As in our case, TIBOLA may be encountered in regions/countries where R. slovaca and Dermacentor ticks are prevalent but autochthonous acquisition was not described before.
Members of the genus Nocardia are ubiquitous environmental saprophytes capable to cause human pulmonary, disseminated and cutaneous nocardiosis or bovine mastitis. Innate immunity appears to play an important role in early defense against Nocardia species. To elucidate the contribution of antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) in innate defense against Nocardia, the activity of human α-defensins human neutrophil peptides (HNPs) 1-3, human β-defensin (hBD)-3 and cathelicidin LL-37 as well as bovine β-defensins lingual and tracheal antimicrobial peptides (LAP, TAP) and bovine neutrophil-derived indolicidin against four important Nocardia species was investigated.
Whereas N. farcinica ATCC 3318 and N. nova ATCC 33726 were found to be susceptible to all investigated human and bovine AMPs, N. asteroides ATCC 19247 was killed exclusively by neutrophil-derived human α-defensins HNP 1-3 and bovine indolicidin. N. brasiliensis ATCC 19296 was found to exhibit complete resistance to investigated human AMPs and to be susceptible only to bovine indolicidin.
Selected AMPs are capable to contribute to the first line of defense against Nocardia, yet, susceptibility appears to vary across different Nocardia species. Obtained results of neutrophil-derived AMPs to possess the broadest antinocardial spectrum are remarkable, since nocardiosis is characterized by a neutrophil-rich infiltrate in vivo.
Dirofilaria repens, a filarial nematode of dogs and other carnivores, can accidentally infect humans. Clinical symptoms are usually restricted to a subcutaneous nodule containing a single infertile parasite. Here, we report a case of D. repens infection with a subcutaneous gravid worm and the patient’s concomitant meningoencephalitis and aphasia.
Dirofilariasis; Dirofilaria repens; microfilaria; meningoencephalitis; cutaneous nodule; parasites; dispatch
The Escherichia coli multidrug efflux pump protein AcrB has recently been cocrystallized with various substrates, suggesting that there is a phenylalanine-rich binding site around F178 and F615. We found that F610A was the point mutation that had the most significant impact on substrate MICs, while other targeted mutations, including conversion of phenylalanines 136, 178, 615, 617, and 628 to alanine, had smaller and more variable effects.
We evaluated a highly sensitive quantitative real-time one-step reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) for detection of human cytomegalovirus pp67 transcripts in monitoring of solid-organ transplant recipients. Results were compared with those of pp65 antigen testing and quantitative DNA-PCR. Due to a low clinical sensitivity, the pp67 RT-PCR was not able to replace these assays.
Mycobacterium Infections; Atypical; AIDS; Cystitis; Gastrointestinal Diseases; Polymerase Chain Reaction
Several arylpiperazines capable of reversing multidrug resistance (MDR) in Escherichia coli overexpressing acrAB and acrEF but not in pump-deficient mutant strains were identified. 1-(1-Naphthylmethyl)-piperazine, one of the more active compounds, enhanced susceptibility to fluoroquinolones and other agents and increased the intracellular concentration of levofloxacin and ethidium bromide, suggesting efflux pump inhibition as the mechanism of MDR reversal.
Fluoroquinolone-resistant mutants, selected from a wild-type Escherichia coli K-12 strain and its Mar mutant by exposure to increasing levels of ofloxacin on solid medium, were analyzed by Northern (RNA) blot analysis, sequencing, and radiolabelled ciprofloxacin accumulation studies. Mutations in the target gene gyrA (DNA gyrase), the regulatory gene marR, and additional, as yet unidentified genes (genes that probably affect efflux mediated by the multidrug efflux pump AcrAB) all contributed to fluoroquinolone resistance. Inactivation of the acrAB locus made all strains, including those with target gene mutations, hypersusceptible to fluoroquinolones and certain other unrelated drugs. These studies indicate that, in the absence of the AcrAB pump, gyrase mutations fail to produce clinically relevant levels of fluoroquinolone resistance.
The contribution of regulatory genes to fluoroquinolone resistance was studied with clinical Escherichia coli strains bearing mutations in gyrA and parC and with different levels of fluoroquinolone resistance. Expression of marA and soxS was evaluated by Northern blot analysis of isolates that demonstrated increased organic solvent tolerance, a phenotype that has been linked to overexpression of marA, soxS, and rob. Among 25 cyclohexane-tolerant strains detected by a screen for increased organic solvent tolerance (M. Oethinger, W. V. Kern, J. D. Goldman, and S. B. Levy, J. Antimicrob. Chemother. 41:111–114, 1998), we found 5 Mar mutants and 4 Sox mutants. A further Mar mutant was detected among 11 fluoroquinolone-resistant, cyclohexane-susceptible E. coli strains used as controls. Comparison of the marOR sequences of clinical Mar mutants with that of E. coli K-12 (GenBank accession no. M96235) revealed point mutations in marR in all mutants which correlated with loss of repressor function as detected in a marO::lacZ transcriptional assay. We found four other amino acid changes in MarR that did not lead to loss of function. Two of these changes, present in 20 of the 35 sequenced marOR fragments, identified a variant genotype of marOR. Isolates with the same gyrA and parC mutations showed increased fluoroquinolone resistance when the mutations were accompanied by overexpression of marA or soxS. These data support the hypothesis that high-level fluoroquinolone resistance involves mutations at several chromosomal loci, comprising structural and regulatory genes.
The clinical course of Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia varies extensively. We sought to determine the relationship between genetic characteristics of the infecting pathogen and clinical outcomes in an exploratory study. In two study centers, 317 blood culture isolates were analyzed by DNA microarray and spa genotyping. By uni- and multivariate regression analyses associations of genotype data with 30-day all-cause mortality, severe sepsis/septic shock, disseminated disease, endocarditis, and osteoarticular infection were investigated. Univariate analysis showed significant association between S. aureus genes/gene-clusters or clonal complexes and clinical endpoints. For example CC15 was associated with 30-day mortality and CC22 with osteoarticular infection. In multivariate analysis methicillin resistance (mecA, OR 4.8 [1.43–16.06]) and the beta-lactamase-gene (bla, OR 3.12 [1.17–8.30]) remained independently associated with 30-day mortality. The presence of genes for enterotoxins (sed/sej/ser) was associated with endocarditis (OR 5.11 [1.14–18.62]). Host factors such as McCabe classification (OR 4.52 [2.09–9.79] for mortality), age (OR 1.06 [1.03–1.10] per year), and community-acquisition (OR 3.40 [1.31–8.81]) had a major influence on disease severity, dissemination and mortality. Individual genotypes and clonal complexes of S. aureus can only partially explain clinical features and outcomes of S. aureus bacteremia. Genotype-phenotype association studies need to include adjustments for host factors like age, comorbidity and community-acquisition.
Praziquantel is the drug of choice in preventive chemotherapy targeting schistosomiasis. Increasing large-scale administration of praziquantel requires monitoring of drug efficacy to detect early signs of development of resistance. Standard protocols for drug efficacy monitoring are necessary. Here, we determined the optimal time point for praziquantel efficacy assessment against Schistosoma haematobium and studied the dynamics of infection parameters following treatment.
Ninety school-aged children from south Côte d’Ivoire with a parasitologically confirmed S. haematobium infection were treated with a single oral dose of praziquantel (40 mg/kg) and followed up for 62 days post-treatment. Urine samples were collected on 23 schooldays during this period and were subjected to visual examination (macrohaematuria), urine filtration and microscopy (S. haematobium eggs) and reagent strip testing (microhaematuria, proteinuria and leukocyturia).
Observed cure and egg reduction rates were highly dependent on the time point post-treatment. Egg reduction rates were high (>97%) in weeks 3–9 post-treatment. Cure rates were highest in weeks 6 (92.9%) and 9 (95.0%) post-treatment. The prevalence of infection-associated parameters decreased after treatment, reaching a minimum of 2.4% in weeks 5 (proteinuria) and 7 (leukocyturia) post-treatment, and 16.3% at the end of week 8 (microhaematuria). Macrohaematuria disappeared between weeks 3 and 6 post-treatment.
For monitoring praziquantel efficacy against S. haematobium, we recommend that the cure rate is assessed at week 6 post-treatment. The egg reduction rate can be evaluated earlier, from day 14 post-treatment onwards. Reagent strips are a useful additional tool for evaluating treatment outcomes in areas with high endemicity, preferably at weeks 5 and 6 post-treatment. The delayed decrease of microhaematuria confirms that lesions in the urinary tract persist longer than egg excretion post-treatment.
Schistosomiasis; Schistosoma haematobium; Praziquantel; Drug efficacy; Macrohaematuria; Microhaematuria; Proteinuria; Leukocyturia; School-aged children; Côte d’Ivoire
With an average prescription rate of 50%, in German primary care antibiotics are still too frequently prescribed for respiratory tract infections. The over-prescription of antibiotics is often explained by perceived patient pressure and fears of a complicated disease progression. The CHANGE-2 trial will test the effectiveness of two interventions to reduce the rate of inappropriate antibiotic prescriptions for adults and children suffering from respiratory tract infections in German primary care.
The study is a three-arm cluster-randomized controlled trial that measures antibiotic prescription rates over three successive winter periods and reverts to administrative data of the German statutory health insurance company AOK. More than 30,000 patients in two regions of Germany, who visit their general practitioner or pediatrician for respiratory tract infections will be included. Interventions are: A) communication training for general practitioners and pediatricians and B) intervention A plus point-of-care testing. Both interventions are tested against usual care. Outcome measure is the physicians’ antibiotic prescription rate for respiratory tract infections derived from data of the health insurance company AOK. Secondary outcomes include reconsultation rate, complications, and hospital admissions.
Major aim of the study is to improve the process of decision-making and to ensure that patients who are likely to benefit from antibiotics are treated accordingly. Our approach is simple to implement and might be used rapidly among general practitioners and pediatricians. We expect the results of this trial to have major impact on antibiotic prescription strategies and practices in Germany, both among general practitioners and pediatricians.
The study is registered at the Current Controlled Trials Ltd (ISRCTN01559032)
Antibiotic prescribing; Respiratory tract infections; Primary care; Randomized controlled trial
Sales data indicate a major increase in the prescription of antifungal drugs in the last two decades. Many new agents for systemic use that only recently have become available are likely to be prescribed intensively in acute care hospitals. Sales data do not adequately describe the developments of drug use density. Given the concerns about the potential emergence of antifungal drug resistance, data on drug use density, however, may be valuable and are needed for analyses of the relationship between drug use and antifungal resistance.
Hospital pharmacy records for the years 2001 to 2003 were evaluated, and the number of prescribed daily doses (PDD, defined according to locally used doses) per 100 patient days were calculated to compare systemic antifungal drug use density in different medical and surgical service areas between five state university hospitals.
The 3-year averages in recent antifungal drug use for the five hospitals ranged between 8.6 and 29.3 PDD/100 patient days in the medical services (including subspecialties and intensive care), and between 1.1 and 4.0 PDD/100 patient days in the surgical services, respectively. In all five hospitals, systemic antifungal drug use was higher in the hematology-oncology service areas (mean, 48.4, range, 24 to 101 PDD/100 patient days, data for the year 2003) than in the medical intensive care units (mean, 18.3, range, 10 to 33 PDD/100) or in the surgical intensive care units (mean, 10.7, range, 6 to 18 PDD/100). Fluconazole was the most prescribed antifungal drug in all areas. In 2003, amphotericin B consumption had declined to 3 PDD/100 in the hematology-oncology areas while voriconazole use had increased to 10 PDD/100 in 2003.
Hematology-oncology services are intense antifungal drug prescribing areas. Fluconazole and other azol antifungal drugs are the most prescribed drugs in all patient care areas while amphotericin B use has considerably decreased. The data may be useful as a benchmark for focused interventions to improve prescribing quality.